Institute of Certified Bookkeepers

Are Your ABNs Active and Up To Date?

To maintain accurate data, the Australian Business Register (ABR) periodically checks its records for Australian business numbers (ABNs), and automatically cancels those that appear inactive. The ABR checks are happening throughout 2018.

Your client may have their sole trader, partnership, or trust ABN cancelled if they have:

  • declared no business income for the last two years.
  • not lodged business activity statements or income tax returns for more than two years.

To avoid ABN cancellation, your clients with outstanding lodgments need to bring these up to date.

Sometimes sole traders have forms outstanding because they think they don't need to lodge if their income is below the tax-free threshold. Remind your sole trader clients that, regardless of their income, they need to:

  • lodge their individual tax return, including the supplementary section.
  • lodge their business and professional items schedule for individuals.
  • pay their IAS, and if Nil they must lodge a Nil.

It is important that ABR information remains current, as the public uses ABN Lookup data to verify business and GST status. If your sole trader client no longer operates a business, you can update their business structure and cancel their ABN. If your client decides to start running their business again, they can easily reapply.


  • Updated: 25th July, 2018